Friday, August 28, 2009

Parti-Gyle Brewing

Parti-Gyle brewing is an archaic manner of brewing wherein the mash is drawn off used for one strength of beer and the remaining grains are re-mashed. There is no sparge to speak of. The process can be repeated three or more times to produce three or four progressively weaker beers. In fact this method was used extensively in the Medieval times to produce beers of varying strengths from a single mash (Strong Ale, Common Ale and Small Beer, for example).

I have always been a big fan of batch sparging, in which the sparge water is applied all at once after the first runnings have been drawn off, then the second runnings are added to the first for the entire beer produced by that mash. It's simply an easier and quicker-albeit, perhaps less efficient-method of mashing. I like simple.

Recently I had a bit of trouble deciding on which kind of beer I wanted to make. I always have this problem because I like so many types of beer! I decided on making two different types of beers at once. Because I have a large supply of free hops and an equally large supply of very cheap hops (thanks to a bulk purchase made by my homebrew club), I decided to put these to use. I made an Imperial IPA with the first runnings and made a weaker beer with the second runnings (sort of a Parti-Gyle brew, though I didn't actually mash the grains again...much). I deliberately sparged with less than the expected amount of water for my typical ten gallon batch, to ensure adequate gravity for both beers and ended up with a little over eight gallons of beer total.

It was interesting but I didn't have enough beer when all was said and done! The product was pretty good, though!

The following recipe is for an IPA. I used the resulting two runnings to produce the Imperial IPA and the IPA. Here are the details (the italicized portion is what the beer would have been if I hadn't split the batch):

Mitten Envy IPA
14-B American IPA
Author: Mike Mullins
Date: 7/20/2009

Size: 10.48 gal
Efficiency: 70.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 181.41 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.055 (1.056 - 1.075)
Terminal Gravity: 1.014 (1.010 - 1.018)
Color: 6.27 (6.0 - 15.0)
Alcohol: 5.36% (5.5% - 7.5%)
Bitterness: 41.2 (40.0 - 70.0)

20 lb English 2-row Pale
2 lb Vienna Malt
1 lb Carapils®/Carafoam®
2.0 ea Fermentis US-05 Safale US-05
Hop schedule for IPA:
1 oz Nugget (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled FWH
1 oz Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled FWH
1 oz Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
1 oz Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled 0.0 min

Schedule for Imperial IPA:
1 oz Nugget (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled FWH
1 oz Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled FWH
1 oz Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
1 oz Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
1 oz Centennial(10%)- added at knockout, boiled 0.0 min
1 oz Simcoe (8%) - added at knockout, boiled 0.0 min
1 oz Amarillo (6%) - added at knockout, boiled 0.0 min
1 oz Centennial(10%)- added in secondary, dry-hopped
1 oz Simcoe (8%) - added in secondary, dry-hopped
1 oz Amarillo (6%) - added in secondary, dry-hopped

Mashed at 158 for 90 minutes, then...
Ran off 4 gallons in first runnings
Sparged with five gallons of water at 170, waited 20 minutes, then...
Ran off 5 gallons in second runnings.

Used a couple of packs of S-05 rehydrated.
split first and second runnings.
First runnings were 1.080 out of the mash tun. boiled 90 minutes. Yielded 3 gallons at 1.110.
Second runnings were 1.038 out of mash tun. boiled 60 minutes. Yielded 3.5 gallons at 1.050.
(Note that the split is about what is expected by Mosher in the Brewing Techniques article referenced above)

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.3

What I ended up with was a very strong and very hoppy Imperial IPA (only about a case of 12 oz bottles, though, after sampling, and a case and a half of a decent IPA. The extended boil of the Imperial IPA lessened the take considerably:-(

The Imperial is about 11% ABV and intense in bitterness and hop aroma, while well-balanced by malt sweetness. Reminds me of a Bells Hopslam (Larry Bell and crew rocks!). I am really happy with the aroma produced by the dry-hopping of three different hop pellets. It is sooo wonderful! Hop heaven!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Member!

Say hello to the newest member of the BJCP that you! Yep. Member A0692, with 8.5 experience points. Don't ask me what my rank is, because my test hasn't been scored but even if I failed miserably, I am a "Recognized" member of the Beer Judge Certification Program and an "official" beer judge!


Keep your fingers crossed for that score. I'm hoping for a seventy percent, at least, so as to be "Certified", but I'll take whatever I get. I can always retake the test.

Studying for the test was difficult and the test itself was a daunting task but I would strongly recommend it to all who are interested in judging beer (or even learning more about beer). Take the next step!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dearth of Posts

I have to apologize to everyone that actually reads this blog for the dearth of posts lately. It doesn't mean I haven't been busy or even beer busy (and hence having a wealth of beery material with which to regale). I have been immersed in beer over the past few weeks (there's a visual for you). I have been studying for the BJCP exam, judging beer at the World Expo of beer (both commercial beers and homebrews) and making beer pretty steadily, as well as entering my beers in competitions (which, sadly, has not yielded any hardware).

Recently the club (Lapeer Area Brewers) participated in Big Brew/National Homebrew Day at Replays Sports Tavern in Lapeer. We brewed thirty gallons of beer on that historic day! There were five brewers and we brewed several different kinds of beer, from Irish Stout to American Lager. A good time was had by all!

Today, I kegged the result of Big Brew, an American Pale Ale. Here are the details:
12 Lbs. 2-Row American Malt
4 Lbs. German Pilsner Malt
2 Lbs. English Crystal 45
1.5Oz. Nugget (60 Minutes)
1 Oz. Cascade (20 Minutes)
.5 Oz. Cascade (0 Minutes)

Mashed at 153 for 60 minutes. Boiled for 60 Minutes with above hop additions. Chilled and racked into Glass Carboys and pitched two Safale 05 yeast starters. Fermented for two weeks at 60 degrees. Racked today into two kegs, one with 1 ounce of Amarillo dry hops, the other without. Original Gravity was 1.048 and Final Gravity was 1.010.

Color is a light amber, IBUs at about 30, ABV around 4.5%.

Frankenmuth, chicken dinners and the World Expo of Beer awaits!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Too Busy to Blog?

Wow! I've been kind of busy lately. Since my last post, I've made several beers and assisted in the making of some more. I finished up my teaching gig in early March, so I thought I'd be busily blogging here and elsewhere but, instead I've just been busy doing other things, none of which seem important but just had to get done.

Here is a little bit of what's been going on in the life and times of Beerme, beer-wise:

The tweaked, second attempt at the perfect English Dark Mild came out a bit sweeter and a bit earthier, due to the Goldings hops. I am going to enter it as a Southern English Brown Ale. Cross your fingers! I like the first one better, though, so I will enter that as the perfect English Dark Mild!

I racked a Robust Porter onto the yeast in March and it finished a bit weaker than a US version of Robust Porter should be (less roasty and not as much mouthfeel), so I may enter it as a Brown Porter. Competitions simply do not respect historical (restrained) guidelines. Bolder beers (only just incrementally so) seem to do better, in my humble opinion. Here is the 10 gallon grainbill:

20 Lbs. 2-Row (US)
2 Lbs. Crisp Crystal 45
1 Lb. US Chocolate Malt
.5 Lbs. Roasted Barley
2 Oz. Nugget (Homegrown) 60 Minutes
1 Oz. Cascade (Homegrown) 20 Minutes
Irish Moss
Yeast cake of WLP 002 English Ale Yeast
OG: 1.054 FG: 1.012

On April 11, I brewed a big Barleywine. It finished at 1.091 and the additions of homemade caramel syrup and beet sugar brought it up to 1.106. I added these incrementally during the first week of fermentation. I just racked it to secondary and it is already a hefty 9% ABV! The gravity check yielded a still sweet 1.030. It has a ways to go but it tastes pretty darned good right now! Vinous and very sweet, there are heavy dark fruit notes and a spicy and hoppy counterbalance to the malt-heavy backbone. Here is the 5 gallon grainbill:

20 Lbs. 2-Row US
4 Lbs. German Pilsner Malt
2 Lbs. Crisp Crystal 45
1 Lb. Belgian Caramunich
1 Oz. Nugget (Homegrown) 60 Minutes
1 Oz. Cascade (Homegrown) 20 Minutes
Irish Moss 1.5 Teaspoons 15 Minutes
2 Lbs. Beet Sugar (prepared as equal additions of syrup, one of which was inverted and caramelized)
Yeast Cake of WLP 002 English Ale Yeast (Finally retired!)
OG: 1.106 FG: 1.026 (Expected) currently at 1.030.

I will leave it in secondary until mid-May and then rack to a keg and bottle in 7 oz. bottles for keeping. This one will not be ready for competition until Fall, at the least.

The Lapeer Area Brewers is a growing concern! We have a new member nearly every month and the brewers are getting better and better! We have a brewing demonstration scheduled for Big Brew-National Homebrew Day, on Saturday May 2, 2009 at Replays Sports Tavern just North of Lapeer. At least two beers will be brewed: one all-grain and one extract. We will have some samples on hand and a host of experienced brewers to answer questions and give advice on this great hobby. Anyone in the area is encouraged to come by and enjoy the fun! There may be some trivia games and even a Red Wings playoff game to watch, after the work is done! The bar beer menu is limited to BudMilCoors and Oberon, on'll have to do. Hey, Miller is "triple-hopped", ya know!

Until the next post, Prosit!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tweaking the Mild

I made an excellent English Dark Mild a couple of months ago (it was my favorite beer for at least a month) and re-read the very good style series book, Mild Ales, by Dave Sutula. This created in me a strong desire to make the Mild even better. I took the original recipe and tweaked it thusly:

Original Lapeer Mild:
(King Henry V's Barley Broth)
14 Lbs US 2-row
1 Lb Crystal 45
1 Lb US Chocolate Malt
1 Oz HG Nugget-60 minutes
1 Oz HG Cascade-10 minutes
Mashed at 152 F
Boiled 60 minutes
OG: 1.038
FG: 1.010

New Lapeer Mild:
(Bigger Barley Broth)
12 Lbs US 2-row45
2 Lb Crystal
1 Lb US Chocolate Malt
1 Lb Flaked Oats
1 Oz HG Nugget-60 minutes
1 Oz HG US Goldings
Mashed at 155 F
Boiled 90 minutes
OG: 1.039
FG: 1.010

I was going for more mouthfeel, more body, as well as some more residual sweetness. I racked the first five gallons into a keg yesterday and tasted the hydrometer reading sample. It was good but I really couldn't judge it well with the small and un-carbonated sample. We'll see soon. The second five gallons will be bottled with priming sugar, I think. The final gravity of both was about the same, so I don't know what the difference will be. I might have kept the 2-row to 14 pounds but it would have made for a pretty big Mild.

My yeast cakes are looking to be fed with some new wort and I am not sure what to make. Has anyone any good ideas? I'm looking to keep it in the family, so to speak. An English beer of higher gravity than a Mild. Perhaps a Brown Ale or a Bitter or even a Pale Ale.

I'm entertaining all suggestions at this time...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dakota Inn: I revisit the Rathskeller after some forty years!

Sometime in the Sixties, I remember visiting this wonderful German restaurant in my old Detroit neighborhood, The Dakota Inn. What stood out most in my mind from that childhood visit, was the image of a roomful of people singing along to the words to old songs-German songs, as I remember-while they watched the words displayed by a slide projector on the wall. This was quite a long time before I ever heard the word, "karaoke"!

Well, I have long since moved out of the neighborhood and, in fact, most of the neighborhood has pretty much disappeared, having been destroyed by blight and crime and pretty much bulldozed into something resembling a farm field with sidewalks. But The Dakota Inn remains and I revisited the place last night with my wife and another couple. We had a wonderful time and look forward to going again (Karneval is every weekend in February!).

Check out the site for pics and history, as the visit is well worth it! We had dinner and a few good beers. We started with kartoffelpuffer, a kurtz stack and went on to have the following four entrees: Cheese Spaetzle (Kasespaetzle), Sauerbraten, Huhnerfleisch (chicken breast)and Rouladen. All was passable, authentic German fare. We all remarked that the food was generally more bland than we'd have liked but really quite good. The chicken breast was the only disappointment, being tough and somewhat dry.

The beer, however, was not the least bit disappointing. In fact it was sehr gut! We started with a 23 ounce draft Fraziskaner, Hefe-Weisse Dunkel which was dark, mysterious, delicious and a big beginning entry to the German bier fare we were about to experience. Next we tried the obvious, a Spaten Optimator, a slightly larger, more extreme German large lager(bottle). Finally, we ended the night with a big half liter of Aventinus Wheat Doppelbock (bottle), oh my! What a fine finish to a great evening!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Craft Beer Explosion and Beer News Dot Org

OK. I have to say that the Craft Beer Scene is so large, so varied, so prolific and so terrific that I am officially overwhelmed by it. It's not just the numbers of excellent craft brewers that make the task of following them so nearly impossible but the quality and the variety which makes the task so much more essential, yet so much less probable. And that just takes into account the brewers in this country. Lately brewers across the pond have really been stirring up the competition by producing increasingly interesting and inventive beers. Nogne, Norrebro Bryghus, Mikkeller and De Proef, are just a few recently brought to my attention. Enough! I can't keep up!

I have usually focused on the Michigan brewers, here, along with the usual scratchings about my personal homebrewing, but I try to occasionally keep any readers up on what has recently caught my attention in craft brewing. I will continue to do that but in no way can I promise a good gauge of what is available to the craft beer consumer anymore. It is simply too overwhelming. I will offer a great resource, though, to those who love craft beer and want to try to keep up. It is called Beer News and you can add it to your google reader or other RSS service so you can get frequent updates on what's new. For instance today Beer News tells us about the new releases of Bells Hopslam, Founders Double Trouble and Troegs Nugget Nectar. How's that for some good news!

For a more in-depth treat, visit their RSS Info page for even more options for those interesting in getting the inside dope on new craft beer info, blogs, or just new beers. Go to the Craft Beer Index for a listing (and link to) every beer that has been discussed on the Beer News site over the past several months (It's huge!).

So leave the depressing news services alone and keep up with some optimistic news for a change: Beer News! It's delicious!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Session Roundup!

The 23rd edition of The Session is finished. I would like to thank Stan Heironymus, Jay Brooks, and all the others who created and developed the concept of a Beer Blogging Friday, for allowing me to participate. It was fun and, during the course of the last month's activities, I've become aware of a tiny portion of the great number of really good beer blogs out there!

If you have a beer blog and you haven't hosted a Session, yet, you really should do so. It has been a great learning experience for me! If you want to find out about the breadth and depth of the beer blogging universe, this is a very good start!

Here is the roundup (in no particular order):

Ron, at HopTalk tells us what five things he won't miss about 2008. I have to agree with him on most of them, too!

Stan at Appellation Beer, gives us a list of things he will miss about 2008 (hint: sleeping in a parking lot is one of them!) and a smaller list of the things he hopes to see in the coming year.

Rob, at Sophisticated Brews, lists some of the things he eagerly awaits in 2009 (having posted a year-in-review a few days ago...). One of these is more cask ales...hooray for session beers!

David, at Musings Over a Pint, puts a local spin on the topic, listing what he will miss in the Virginia beer scene and what might adequately replace it...

The Beer Nut gives us some of his plans for the coming year and a very simple, but eminently sensible, answer to what he'll miss about 2008.

Mario, at Brewed for Thought, makes his case for the Zappa series from Lagunitas and has big hopes for Pliny the Younger.

Steph at Beer and Food Love gives an exciting and lengthy list of personal "firsts" in 2008 and hopes for even more of the same in 2009. Go homebrewers!

Mark, at Beercraft, offers a couple of beers he will miss and some ambitious plans for the coming year.

Shaun, at 21st Amendment, gives us a review of the past year's financial difficulties in the brewing biz and a celebration of a new trend he hopes to see continue in the coming year: Collaboration Brews (Way to go, Melissa Myers!).

Jimmy, at Hopwild, says he doesn't miss much about 2008, but is looking forward to a better 2009. I'll second that!

Lew Bryson, at Seen Through a Glass, will miss a few very specific things from 2008 and has guarded hope for the new year.

Brewmaster Matt, from A World of Brews, thinks 2008 was pretty darn good and plans for more beery good times in the coming year!

Tom, from Yours for Good Fermentables, has a few regrets about 2008 and some great expectations for 2009!

Keith, at Brainard Brewing, tells us what he missed in 2008 and that he plans on rectifying that in 2009!

Joe, at The Thirsty Pilgrim, cries us a river over his missed Belgian beer opportunities and has a very special arrival to look forward to in 09!

Jon, at The Brew Site, says he misses one specific beer (a really good one!) and looks forward to "more Beer" in 2009.

couchand, at I'll Have a Beer, has some thoughts on the hop crisis and some sour predictions for 2009.

Thomas, at Geistbear Brewing Blog, misses some old haunts but looks forward to new ones, too.

Rob, at Pfiff!, examines the brewing extremes and, perhaps, the not so extreme in the coming year?

Jay, from Brookston Beer Bulletin, describes the past year as a "miserly little year that took more than it gave" (well-said!) and waxes philosophical in his offering.

Peter, from Better Beer Blog, compares last year to a trip to the Magic Kingdom and "hopes" for more and better next year.

Beckel, at Legal Beer, will miss growlers at Surly's and is looking forward to a special collaboration beer with a twist!

Brad, at La Petite Brasserie, identifies his travels and the great real ales he discovered as the thing he'll miss most from '08, and brewing more of those great English Milds in the coming year is what he's excited about. I'm down with that!

Next month's Session will be hosted at Musing Over a Pint, by Dave Turley. Look for a topic to be announced soon, there.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Old and New

This post is my effort toward the global beer blogging community's collective Friday Session, hosted by yours truly this month. I picked this unwieldy subject and will endeavor to make something of sense out of it (no small task).

What will I miss from 2008 and what will I excitedly await in 2009?

I will miss many things, not the least of which is the time that's passed (as I get older, I treasure that so very much more!). I miss the time that passed during which I failed to brew as much as I wanted and so failed to improve on my brewing skills with the effort. As trite as it sounds, it is missed opportunities that I most regret. I missed the chance to brew the stepped set of increasingly alcoholic, increasingly dark lagers that I had planned on building this Winter. I had wanted to brew three or four lagers, starting with a light colored, light lager and finishing with a Doppelbock, with a couple of others in between. Didn't get it done (yet). I miss the fact that there were opportunities to improve my homebrewing club, The Lapeer Area Brewers, that were not acted upon.

In this year that has shown the world the tenuous nature of the economic situation that we all held as so sound, not so many months ago, I feel particularly sorry that the United States has lost its last remaining big brewer. There is no longer an American beer in the big three (B-M-C). Inbev has purchased the Anheuser-Busch (now ABInBev)powerhouse and changed the landscape of corporate beer in the world forever. A-B has been the top brewer in the States since the year I was born (1957). That's a long time! Sure they make corporate swill but it was our corporate swill! Let's not forget the good things that A-B did for beer and brewing here in the US and in the world, either. Many hop varieties owe their existence to A-B, since the demand for newer and better hops came directly from the bigger brewers and was answered by the world's hop growers. Never mind the fact that you could never taste the Cascade, Willamette, Liberty, Mt. Hood and Sterling hops in their beer, all of these hop varieties came about due to Anheuser-Busch-sponsored research (to be fair, all of the big brewers sponsor such research). Since all of these hops were developed here, in the US, the entire brewing world that uses them (yes, most of our hops are exported), should also be thankful for A-B!

I guess I should say here that A-B is not gone, but merely changed into a more "global" entity. That in itself is sad, as we-so near Detroit-see much of our manufacturing base outsourced and our automobile industry slide into possible receivership. It is a false sadness, though. This is more of the creative destruction that the market and the global economy indulges in to make things better for all of us. I will celebrate it as a change and not as something bad. This is the year of change, no?

As for something I will be excited about in 2009, I can say that it is that change that I most embrace. Change in the sense that all of the good in the world that happens is an improvement upon what has gone before. I see the world of Craft Beer as improving on a daily basis. New brewers and breweries are popping up every day, even in a world that is experiencing a great deal of financial hardship. More importantly the brewers and breweries are making better and better beer!

I visit as many breweries, brewpubs and beer festivals as I can and I am always surprised at the ingenuity, inventiveness and excellence-in-craft that I find. I am excited about the local brewers that interest me, such as Doug Beedy at Fort Street Brewery and Joe Short at Short's Brewery, to name a couple. I see them creatively stretching the boundaries of the Michigan beer world, in their efforts. I anxiously await the next delicious offerings from all of our great craft brewers as well as the craft brewers around the world. I can't wait to be surprised at the ingredient combinations and unusual results these artisans produce and I can't wait to take their inspirations and work my own magic with them in my basement brewery.

In the coming year, I want to experience more of the world's beers. I have been reading about beers from Czechoslovakia that make me drool (thanks to Velky Al and others) and angry that I can't find most of them, here in Michigan. I have gained a greater appreciation for British beers and can't wait to further educate my palate in that country's offerings. German beer also awaits a further exploration in the coming year, as I have sadly neglected this font of beer knowledge. So many countries, so many beers, so little time! There's that time theme, again!

I want to see my homebrewing club expand and gain new members. This past year we saw an influx of new members that has truly enriched our club and our members! New members bring with them new beers, new methods, new equipment and ideas and new friendships! I hope to see more and more of that.

I wish for all my readers and friends that the coming year is a better one for them, that the changes that occur make their lives richer with new experiences and better circumstances and that their lives are further enriched by the beers they drink and the company they keep. Beer is a wonderful drink and a great social lubricant, but it is the people we meet, talk with, drink with and befriend that make us richer. I wish for all of you that your circle of friends grows along with your beer drinking experience!